The High Court of Australia has ruled against legislation that allowed 27 same-sex couples to marry in the Australian Capital Territory, noting that the country's federal laws only allow heterosexual marriage.
"The Court held that the object of the ACT Act is to provide for marriage equality for same sex couples and not for some form of legally recognized relationship which is relevantly different from the relationship of marriage which federal law provides for and recognizes," the high court wrote on Thursday.
"Accordingly, the ACT Act cannot operate concurrently with the federal Act." more >>
The Supreme Court of India ruled on Wednesday to reinstate a ban on gay sexual relations, threatening violators with up to 10 years in jail.
The Supreme Court decided to overturn a 2009 Delhi High Court decision which ruled as unconstitutional a section of the penal code dating back to 1860 that prohibits "carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal," Reuters reported. The judges decided that only the parliament can change this certain section.
"It's a black day for us," said Anjali Gopalan, the executive director of the Naz Foundation, in support of gay rights. "I feel exhausted right now, thinking that we have been set back by 100 years." more >>
North Korea has released 85-year-old U.S. veteran Merrill Newman after holding him for more than a week for allegedly making plots against Pyongyang, but American Christian missionary Kenneth Bae is still being held at a labor camp.
"I'm delighted to be home," Newman told reporters at the San Francisco airport after arriving there on Saturday. "It's been a great homecoming. I'm tired, but ready to be with my family," The Associated Press quoted him as saying amid applause from supporters gathered there.
Vice President Joe Biden had offered to bring the 85-year-old veteran in his Air Force Two, but Newman preferred to board a direct flight from Beijing, where he flew from North Korea after being freed. more >>
International human rights group Amnesty International has obtained satellite images of North Korea that expose some of its largest prison camps, where hundreds of thousands of people, including children, are believed to be kept "in horrific conditions."
"The gruesome reality of North Korea's continued investment in this vast network of repression has been exposed. We urge the authorities to immediately and unconditionally release all those prisoners of conscience held in political prison camps and close the camps immediately," said Rajiv Narayan, Amnesty International's East Asia researcher.
Amnesty's detailed report said that the new findings are of "grave concern," as it shows that North Korean authorities are investing in and maintaining political prison camps – described as places of "systematic, widespread and grave human rights violations, such as forced hard labor, denial of detainee's food quota as punishment, torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment." more >>
A baby left in an elevator was brutally beaten and murdered by a 10-year-old girl in Chongqing, China recently. The child's mother had stepped off the lift momentarily when the schoolgirl picked up her child and threw him off a balcony, resulting in his death from fatal injuries a short time afterwards.
The baby's name was Yuanyuan, and he was accompanied by his mother and a small green bike, according to Daily Mail. When they reached their floor, the mother struggled to get the bike out while the 10-year-old girl stepped onto the elevator and picked up the 2-year-old. The mother waited outside the elevator doors expectantly, but as they closed, she realized the girl wasn't giving her child back.
The CCTV footage captured the horrific violence that took place. more >>
China revealed that roughly 20,000 officials of the nation's Communist Party have been punished or reprimanded over the past year in reaction to the Chinese citizens growing angry over rampant waste and corruption.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, who announced last year that he would reduce government bureaucracy, has made good on his promise while trying to minimize the lavish lifestyles of members of the Chinese government.
Still some are skeptical that the number of arrests was more eye-catching than those who were punished. more >>